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Dr. Ismahane Elouafi

Dr. Ismahane Elouafi

Director General

Dr. Ismahane Elouafi is a global thought leader in science for sustainable development, food security and nutrition. She has been consistently ranked among the most influential women in science in the Arab world. Her contributions to science and policy have been recognized with a number of awards, including the National Reward Medal by His Majesty Mohamed VI, the King of Morocco (2014), and the Excellence in Science Award from the Global Thinkers Forum (2014).

Throughout her career spanning more than two decades, Dr. Elouafi has initiated and led major science and partnership programs, developed strategies, and advised governments and international research and development institutions.

She has extensive on-the-ground experience in agricultural research and development, stakeholder engagement, resource mobilization and partnership-building in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

In her current role as Director General, Dr. Elouafi has transformed the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture into a world-class research institution by spearheading the development and implementation of the center’s long-term strategy and expanding its mandate to marginal environments, an agroecosystem concept which she has mainstreamed since 2012.

Dr. Elouafi had previously held senior scientific and leadership positions, including Senior Adviser to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Research Branch in Ottawa, Canada (2006-2007); the National Manager of Plant Research Section at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (2007-2010); and Director of Research Management and Partnerships Division at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (2010-2012).

She had also worked as a scientist with several international research organizations, including the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).

Dr. Elouafi has been a member of various strategy expert panels and advisory groups, including with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Global Commission on Adaptation and HarvestPlus.

She currently sits on the boards of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the USA; the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), the UK; and the Professional Development Institute, Canada.

Her most recent appointments are as a member of the Scientific Group for the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit and as a member of the CGIAR System Management Board.

Dr. Elouafi is a strong advocate for diversifying into neglected and underutilized crops and rethinking food systems as a whole. She is also internationally known for her work on promoting use of non-fresh water in agriculture and empowerment of women in science.